At 10am this morning it was announced by experts from the University of Leicester that the bones found in a car park in Leicester in August 2012 are indeed the remains of the last Plantagenet King of England, Richard III. The scientists managed to discover a match between Richard’s DNA and that of a living descendant of his sister. Apart from the DNA there are also several injuries and anatomical anomalies on the skeleton that point towards it being Richard III’s remains.
Supporters of Richard III have been trying for a long time to spruce up Richard’s image. Described by Shakespeare as a hunchbacked tyrant and widely believed to have ordered the murder of his two nephews, Edward V and his brother Richard of Shrewsbury (“The Princes in the Tower”), he continues to polarise people’s opinions of his character even today. The discovery of his remains might be able to change all that. Philippa Langley from the Richard III Society says of the discovery of Richard’s skeleton: “I’m totally thrilled, I’m overwhelmed to be honest, it’s been a long hard journey. I mean today as we stand it’s been nearly four years. […] We’re going to completely reassess Richard III, we’re going to completely look at all the sources again, and hopefully there’s going to be a new beginning for Richard as well.”
There’s no way of telling what the historians are going to unearth about Richard III in the hopes of clearing up the mysteries of his past, but at least the last truly English king is going to get a more dignified final resting place – his remains will be reinterred in Leicester Cathedral later in the year (after Queen Elizabeth II vetoed a transfer of the bones to Westminster Abbey). The car park where he was found will presumably be turned into a visitor’s centre.